The United Nations is increasing its call for help for Zimbabwe as the country is experiencing its “worst-ever” hunger crisis.
Millions are on the brink of starvation and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared the country’s drought a national disaster.
The UN is now calling for over $300m in aid to help recovery efforts.
More than two million Zimbabweans are on the cusp of “starvation”, the United Nations food agency has said, launching a $331.5m aid appeal to help the southern African country recover from a devastating drought.
David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said on Tuesday that 2.3 million people in rural Zimbabwe were in “crisis emergency mode” and need food aid now.
“We are talking about people who truly are marching towards starvation if we are not here to help them,” Beasley said. “We are facing a drought unlike any that we have seen in a long time.”
The El Nino-induced drought cut the maize harvest by half, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared it a national disaster.
The drought comes with Zimbabweans enduring a severe economic crisis – prices of staples such as sugar, cooking oil and rice have more than doubled since June, jacking up inflation to more than 175 percent.
Beasley said those in need of emergency food aid in rural Zimbabwe would increase to 5.5 million by next year.
The government estimates another 2.2 million people in urban areas also require food aid, bringing the total to 7.7 million, more than half of the country’s population.
The $331.5m would be used for food aid, provision of water and sanitation and cash handouts to stricken families.